Violence was reported in several parts of the state
Geetanjali Minhas | July 25, 2018 | Mumbai
Demanding reservation in jobs and education, the Maratha community carried out agitation across Maharashtra on Wednesday.
The Maratha Kranti Morcha had called for a Maharashtra bandh post the death of a 27-year-old protestor on Monday. The protestor identified as Kakasaheb Shinde, jumped off a bridge over the Godavari in Aurangabad. The band was later called off by the umbrella organisation in the afternoon.
Meanwhile, violence like torching of buses, tyres and rasta rokos were reported in Marathwada, western Maharashtra and Konkan regions. Agitators clashed with the police and torched vehicles at several places. Internet services were suspended in a few places in Aurangabad to prevent violence.
The effect of the band was also visible in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane and Raigarh where public buses were attacked. Massive security arrangements were in place in Mumbai while schools and colleges remain open. Several buses were pelted with stones, arterial roads including the Eastern Expressway were blocked due to protestors. Shops were shut down at various places. Local train routes were blocked at Jogeshwari and near Thane.
The agitation is being viewed more as a fight between Dalits and Maratha. Quotas for Marathas, a politically influential community that constitutes around 30 per cent of the state's population, has been a hugely contentious issue. The protesters have demanded an ordinance to bring in quotas in jobs and educational institutions from chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis.
The discontent in the community erupted as CM Fadnavis on July 20 announced that the government would provide 16 percent reservation in government jobs to the Maratha community. The Maratha leaders wanted the government to grant them OBC status instead of the 16 percent quota as any reservation beyond the existing 50 percent would be difficult to implement. Also if the Marathas are granted OBC status they would qualify for the existing OBC quotas. The government however says the Backward Class Commission was already considering the proposal to accord OBC status to Marathas.
The Backward Class Commission report is crucial for Maratha reservation and politically no party can afford to take a stand against Maratha reservation.
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